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Types of Sports Bets Explained

Knowing which types of sports bets to place can be daunting, especially if you’re new to online sports betting. Bear in mind, there is no perfect sports bet. It all just depends on the bettor, the sports they’re wagering on, and the circumstances.

Learning about the types of sports bets that are out there is one of the first things that novice bettors should start with. While some may be complex to play, they’re straightforward.picking types of sports bets

In our guide on the different types of sports bets, explains the most common types of bets you’ll come across at a sportsbook. Along with the explanation of the bet, we’ve included examples. This is to help you, the bettor, understand the bet type better. We must emphasize that if you still don’t understand a type of bet, firstly don’t play it. Secondly, do more research to help you understand.

So, let’s take a look at the most common types of sports bets.

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What you’ll find in this guide on type of sports bets:

Full Cover Bets

Also known as combination bets or permutation bets, full cover bets are popular in the United Kingdom. Full cover bets involve making more than one pick. Basically, a bettor is picking a series of wagers that cover all selections in every possible combination. It’s kind of like the covering all your bases of bets.

For example, you made two selections out of three possible combinations of bets:

  • A single bet on selection 1
  • A single bet on selection 2
  • An accumulator on selections 1 and 2

What a full cover bet would do in this situation is basically place each of the three combinations as one. However, they would still essentially be standalone bets. So, if you win selection 2 but lose selection 1 and the accumulator, it doesn’t affect your return on selection 2.

Most noteworthy with full cover bets is that the more combinations you pick, the number of selections grows exponentially. So, if you have three selections, there’s an accumulator on:

  • selections 1 and 2
  • selections 2 and 3
  • on 1 and 3,
  • and an accumulator on 1, 2 and 3

Another interesting thing to note is that full cover bets have their own names. The one mentioned above, the three selections, is a patent.

  • Four selections is a lucky 15
  • Five selections is called a lucky 31
  • A six-selection full cover is a lucky 63

Futures/Outright Bets

Bettors use these types of sports bets to wager on the winner of the league, tournament, or competition before it’s started. Another word for this type of bet is ante-post betting.

Here’s what futures and outrights look like:

  • Picking a football team to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the regular season.
  • Selecting the winner of the US Masters before it begins.
  • Backing a soccer team to win the English Premier League at the start of the season.

So, it’s about staking your money on a team before it’s even played. These types of bets require you to do a bit of research on the team’s previous performances.

The Spread/Handicap Betting

This is a popular sports bet type that is similar to point spread betting. Furthermore, it can be found across many markets for different sports. This type of bet affects the way the odds are presented by the sportsbook. They turn an event where there are varied odds into an even money contest by giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage to certain teams to even the field.

So, if the Broncos were the favorite to beat the Rams, the bookmaker might give the Rams a 2-0 handicap advantage. If you bet on the Broncos to win, but they only win the game by one point, you will lose your bet because the handicap means that the Broncos lost the game 2-1.

On the other hand, if you bet on the Rams and the handicap is at 3-0, your Rams bet would still pay out even if the Broncos won the game 2-0. This is because, to the sportsbook, the Rams won 3-2.

If Bets and Reverse Bets

These types of bets are common in America. Many bettors consider this to be a very complicated bet but they’re basically advanced types of parlay bets.

To play an if bet, you’ll have to make selections in a specific order. Then outcome of the first selection determines if the other following selections are active. Basically, if your first selection in wrong then your whole stake is lost. Should your first selection be correct, you’re paid out your winnings, and then the second selection is played. This continues until a selection is lost or they are complete.

For example, you pick three football teams to cover the spread in their upcoming games: the Steelers, Titans, and Raiders in that order. If the Steelers lose their game then you have lost your if bet.

A reverse bet is a wager that combines multiple if bets in every possible combination. Based off the three selections above, a reverse bet will give you six if bets like:

  • Steelers, then Titans, then Raiders
  • Steelers, then Raiders, then Titans
  • Titans, then Steelers, then Raiders
  • Titans, then Raiders, then Steelers
  • Raiders, then Titans, then Steelers
  • Raiders, then Steelers, then Titans

Parlays/Accumulator Bets

With this type of bet, you make multiple selection on one card or wager. Let’s say there are six NBA teams that you want to back as the winners of their next games. All six of them are included in a parlay bet.

These types of bets are hard to win because you have to get every single selection correct in order to get paid out. But, the payout is huge if you manage to guess right. Calculating the payout for parlays are done using two methods.

  • The first method is usually used in the US, especially if they involve selections on point spreads and total lines. These are fixed based in the number of selections you made. Therefore, odds in this type of sports bet are irrelevant.
  • For the second method, the odds of each selection are multiplied together. While bettors will find that the total payout is rolled over to the next selection if it’s a winner. Here, the overall payout can make you very rich, especially is the odds are high.
balls from different sports

Over/Under Bets

This is a straightforward bet that’s available on a number of sports. How these types of sports bets work is a sportsbook sets the line for the total number of points to be scored in a game. Then you, the bettor, gets the opportunity to bet on whether the actual total will be higher or lower than the set line. If you bet higher, then you’re betting over, and if you bet lower then you’re betting under.

Point Spreads Bets

Straight bets, as they are known here, are extremely popular in football, but they are also used in other sports. With these types of sports bets, it’s about predicting who will ‘cover the spread’. What is a spread? Well, that’s something sportsbooks create to make teams equal favorites for betting. The team that’s picked as the most likely to win has lower points while the underdog is given points. Furthermore, the size of the spread is determined by the point difference between the two teams.

Bet on a favorite to win on the point spread and you’ll be backing them to win by a line that’s bigger than the size of the spread. Back the underdog and you’ll be betting on them winning (or losing) by a line that’s less than the size of the spread.

Other useful guide for betting on sports online:

Progressive Parlays Bets

This type of parlay bet comes with a slightly lower risk and more flexibility. You’ll get returns even if you have incorrect selections. And, depending on the total number of selections you made, you can get a payout even if you get two or three selections.

However, the payout is less even if you get all your selections correct. Get any wrong, and you’ll have an even smaller payout.

Prop Bets/Specials

These types of sports bets are more on the fun side and not for the serious bettor. They are wagers on specific aspects of a sporting event that doesn’t necessarily impact the final outcome. For example, a prop bet is one that predicts who will score first. Some other prop bets include:

  • Time of the first goal scored
  • When the first corner kick is
  • Which team wins the coin toss
  • Will a specific player score a goal

Win Bets/Moneyline Bets

This is sports betting’s simplest bet. Typically, we refer to this type of bet as a moneyline. The moneyline bet is the most popular due to its ease and it’s considered the traditional way to bet on several sports. Simply, it’s about picking who the winner of the match is with the moneyline types of sports bets

Sports Bets FAQs

I’m new to sports betting. Which types of bets should I start with?

We recommend sticking to the basic wagers while your knowledge of sports betting is still growing. Specifically, we recommend win, moneyline, spread, and over/under bets.

How much should I spend on a bet?

This depends on several factors. But we would recommend spending about 10% of your bankroll on a bet. Betting more than this puts you at risk of blowing through your cash quickly.

Which types of sports bets are the riskiest?

Avoid bets like parlays, teasers and pleasers, if bets, reverse, and permutation bets. You need to make more than one selection and this increases the risk on the wager. By far permutation is the riskiest in our eyes because of how it’s structured.

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